G7 ministers to discuss Syria next week in Canada

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – The foreign ministers of Group of Seven (G7) countries will discuss the revival of Syrian peace talks next week in Canada, the German foreign minister announced on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin following his meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Heiko Maas said: “After the military strikes in Syria, now it has become necessary to initiate a political process.

“We have to use the time available now to restart the political process, indeed with the goal of reviving the political process under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Maas underlined the importance of maintaining the dialogue with Russia despite recent tensions with Moscow.

“Without Russia, we won’t be able to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria,” he said.

Germany’s top diplomat also vowed to play a more active role.

“It’s important for Germany to become part of a peace initiative in Syria,” he said.

Freeland backed dialogue with Russia but also criticized Moscow’s support to the regime in Damascus, which she said “crossed the line” in its use of chemical weapons.

“Russia’s support of that regime is unacceptable. And we have to be clear that Russia and Iran share the moral responsibility for some of the heinous actions we have seen in Syria,” she said.

G7’s term president Canada will host the foreign ministers meeting in Toronto between April 22 and 24.

The G7 countries — also called the Group of 7 — includes the world’s largest industrial nations such as Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

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